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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

El Sisi’s “President and People 2018” interview reigns supreme on the airwaves

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s interview with director Sandra Nashaat — titled “President and People 2018” — consumed the talking heads last night. Without exception, the hosts commended the format of the interview, which we cover in the detail in the Speed Round, and El Sisi’s demeanor. They offered little in the way of analysis.

Before we dive into that, the talking heads took note of the biggest business story of the day: The Administrative Court’s order to suspend Uber and Careem’s licenses. Amr Adib maxed-out his vocal cords in expressing his frustration at the Administrative Court’s ruling yesterday to suspend Uber and Careem’s licenses. The host listed all the drawbacks of the court ruling and urged the government to find a way to intervene (watch, runtime: 7:15). We gently urge Adib to take a look at the Ride-hailing Apps Act, which is expected to pass the House soon-ish. We have more in depth coverage of the issue in the Speed Round.

Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) head Atef Yacoub phoned into Yahduth fi Masr to wag his finger at iron and steel manufacturers for raising the prices of their products, saying that the move is detrimental to the state as it is undertaking infrastructure projects. The CPA had warned manufacturers against price hikes, and referred them to the Egyptian Competition Authority when they did not heed warnings, according to Yacoub (watch, runtime: 4:06). Head of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce’s Building Materials Division Ahmed El Zeini commended Yacoub’s decision, saying the price increases are “unjustified” (watch, runtime: 3:16).

With all the grandstanding and back slapping, no one appeared to mention the fact that the Egyptian Competition Authority has denied it is probing the steel sector and noted that only it has the jurisdiction to conduct such an investigation (we have more in the Speed Round). Nice try though, Smiley Face.

The interview with El Sisi was more “cinematic” than journalistic, said Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi as she aired several snippets of the president’s sit-down (watch, runtime: 1:00:00). Kol Youm’s Amr Adib echoed his better half, and pointed out that the format of the interview did not leave space for any follow-up questions (watch, runtime: 3:18). Lamees also took note of a portion of the interview in which El Sisi watched a pop vox compilation from Egyptians, which the host hailed as a “true reflection” of the people’s voice (watch, runtime: 7:22).

Lamees noted that some of the citizens interviewed seemed fearful of speaking their mind in front of a camera (watch, runtime: 3:21), while Adib blamed the issue on a longstanding culture of being scared of criticizing authorities. Both hosts pointed out the generational gap among interviewees’ points of view and that the younger subjects were much more critical (watch, runtime: 1:15).

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